Queen Elizabeth II (21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) lived to be the world’s longest-reigning queen ever and oldest reigning queen ever. Her rule began on 6 February 1952 and lasted for 70 years 214 days until she passed away, aged 96 years 140 days.
As such, she was able to meet many iconic people during her reign. In celebration of the late Queen’s life and achievements, here are ten times she met Guinness World Records title holders.
1952 – Charlie Chaplin
Eight months after ascending to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II met silent-film star Charlie Chaplin.
They shook hands before a royal film performance of Because You’re Mine, at Empire Theatre in Leicester Square.
Their next encounter came 23 years later, in 1975, when the Queen awarded 87-year-old Chaplin with a knighthood. She met him again in 1976, one year before his passing, and congratulated him on his BAFTA fellowship.
Charlie Chaplin holds a record for being the film star with the most biographies, with over 259 book-length works written about him.
1961 – John F. Kennedy
The Queen met 13 of the last 14 US presidents during her life (Lyndon B. Johnson was the unlucky one who missed out).
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president Elizabeth II met while Queen, however, the first record-breaking president was John F. Kennedy, the youngest elected US president (43 years 236 days).
Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, joined the Queen and Prince Philip for dinner at Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II met three other presidents with Guinness World Records titles:
- 2009 – Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the USA
- 2018 – Donald Trump, with the most viewed Wikipedia page for a person (233 million views to date)
- 2021 – Joe Biden, the oldest elected US president (78 years 61 days)
1965 - The Beatles
The first unofficial meeting between The Beatles and the Royal Family was at the 1963 Royal Variety Performance, where the band joked to the crowd, which included Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, "the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands… and the rest of you, if you'd just rattle your jewellery."
Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth II was unable to attend the show as she was pregnant with Prince Edward at the time.
She got her chance to meet the band two years later, in 1965, at the height of Beatlemania. The boys were invited to Buckingham Palace, where they were awarded MBEs by the Queen.
The Beatles hold several Guinness World Records titles, such as best-selling group, most viewed Wikipedia page for a music group and first song beamed into deep space.
1967 – James Bond
The Queen saw six James Bond actors during her lifetime, meeting the first one, Sean Connery, at the world premiere of You Only Live Twice in 1967.
They met again in 2000 when Connery was knighted by the Queen. He shares the record of most appearances as James Bond (7) with Roger Moore.
Known to be a fan of the film franchise, Queen Elizabeth also attended the premieres of Die Another Day in 2002 and Casino Royale in 2006.
On the year of her Diamond Jubilee, 2012, the Queen opened the London Olympic Games, appearing in a short film alongside Daniel Craig, who holds a record as the highest-paid actor to play James Bond.
Upon opening the 2012 Olympics, 36 years after opening the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the Queen set a record for the most Summer Olympic Games opened by an individual.
1969 – David Attenborough
In 1953, one year after Queen Elizabeth II's reign began, Sir David Attenborough began his reign over our TV screens with Animal Disguises on BBC Children's Television. He holds a record for the longest career as a TV presenter.
The pair first met in 1969, when Attenborough was working as controller of BBC Two. He was actually in opposition to the broadcasting of The Royal Family, a documentary commissioned by the Queen, which offered viewers unprecedented access into the lives of the royals.
Despite his concerns, it was aired in the summer of 1969, although it was never to be broadcast or seen in its entirety again.
In 1985, Attenborough was knighted by the Queen, and from 1986 to 1991, he produced each of her Christmas speeches.
Sir David’s friendship with Elizabeth II remained strong over the following decades. In 2005, she awarded him an Order of Merit, and in 2018 she appeared alongside him on camera for The Queen's Green Planet.
Speaking after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Attenborough recalled his fond memories of her "most precious laugh."
1969 – Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin
After the successful Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the Queen hosted Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins at Buckingham Palace.
Armstrong and Aldrin made history in 1969 as the first men on the Moon. Collins played a crucial role by keeping the command module flying around the Moon while his crewmates set foot on the lunar surface below.
Although he’s not the only person on this list to break royal protocol, Armstrong’s offence is perhaps the most egregious, as he reportedly coughed – twice – on Her Majesty's face.
1980 – Pope John Paul II
The Queen met five popes during her lifetime. In 1951, one year before becoming queen, she met Pope Pius XIII. 10 years later, she was hosted at the Apostolic Palace by Pope John XXIII.
However, her first meeting with a record-breaking pope came in 1980, when she travelled with Prince Philip on an official state visit to meet Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
Two years later, the Pope returned the favour and visited Buckingham Palace, marking the first time a pope had ever been to Britain.
During his 26-year tenure, Pope John Paul II made the most international visits by a pope (104) and he was the pope to create the most saints (482).
The Queen also met Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, who went on to become the first pope with a Twitter account. Under the handle @Pontifex, he tweeted his first message on 12 December 2012: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."
1991 – Nelson Mandela
The Queen’s first encounter with Nelson Mandela was in Zimbabwe, one year after his release from prison.
Mandela’s lengthy prison term from 1962 to 1990 set a record as the longest period of incarceration for a future head of state (27 years 6 months 6 days).
The South African leader shared a warm friendship with the Queen and was known to address her by her first name, ignoring all royal protocol.
The Queen, who travelled Africa extensively, made a state visit to South Africa in 1995, where she was hosted by Mandela. Equally, Mandela was hosted at Buckingham Palace several times. On one such occasion in 1996, Mandela rode with the Queen on a horse-drawn carriage through London.
After Mandela’s death in 2013, Buckingham Palace released a statement which said that the Queen was "deeply saddened" to learn of his passing.
2010 - Serena Williams
In 2010, at the age of 84, Queen Elizabeth II attended Wimbledon for the first time since 1977.
She shook hands with several tennis stars, including Serena Williams, who holds 25 Guinness World Records titles.
The Queen also met Roger Federer, who holds a record for the most tennis Grand Slam singles matches won (369).
2022 – Paddington Bear
To celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, the Queen enjoyed afternoon tea with Paddington Bear.
In 2021, Paddington 2 broke a record as the most positively reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes, with 245 positive reviews resulting in a 100% score. Unfortunately, the film has since lost its perfect score after a critic published a negative review.
Far from being the first person on this list to break royal protocol, Paddington committed several faux pas during the two-and-a-half-minute film, such as drinking directly from the teapot.
Luckily, the two were able to bond over their mutual love of marmalade sandwiches.
After the Queen's passing was announced, Paddington shared a heartfelt message on Twitter.
Thank you Ma’am, for everything.— Paddington (@paddingtonbear) September 8, 2022
Generations of actors, athletes, musicians and world leaders came and went throughout the decades, but Queen Elizabeth II remained a constant in the lives of British people and beyond.
She will be fondly remembered for her ability to inspire and guide an entire nation, during both good times and bad.
"As the longest-reigning queen ever, she was an inspiration and a constant in the lives of so many," said Alistair Richards, President of Guinness World Records.
"She will be greatly missed by us all, and our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time."